CHESTERVILLE — It’s tucked away off the beaten path in eastern Morrow County.
The setting is rustic, accented with plenty of comfort. There is a foremost sense of serenity surrounding Heartland Country Resort.
It rests on a scenic 10-acre site and is home to a beautiful bed and breakfast. But, as the welcome sign says, it’s so much more.
Laurie and Jim Mooney purchased the property about four years ago with a desire to expand the acreage for their three horses.
Plenty of work
Jim calls himself the facility’s maintenance man, handling multiple chores.
“Keeping up with the animals. We also have Kelsey, who takes care of them during the day and does a wonderful job. I help in the evenings and I do lawn care and maintenance on the grounds. The cabins, lodges and fencing … a lot of fencing.”
The Lodge, Lodge Suite, and all cabin suites have undergone extensive renovations and are fully furnished.
There are three cabin suites, a pavilion and a large lodge on site. Each suite has a private entrance.
They are aptly named Harmony, Serenity and Tranquility, a reflection of the peaceful feeling one gets upon entering.
A small fishing/swimming pond is on the backside of the property. The pavilion hosts picnics and the fishing pond has served as the setting for baptisms.
“We have several churches in the area that have rented our place for picnics and retreats,” Laurie said. “We are a faith-based company. That’s where our heart is.”
The baptism still came as a bit of a surprise during an August picnic outing.
“The pastor decided this is a great place. They were down having a picnic, and I turn around and I see people standing around the pond. I pulled my phone out and I’m videotaping the preacher and several people being baptized,” Jim recalled.
A full petting zoo features pigs, goats, alpacas, horses, ponies, chickens, rabbits and turkeys. A few family dogs help guard their barnyard mates.
“We cater to families, as well as couples, who want to get away.”
It has grown and expanded under the Mooneys.
“We can accommodate family reunions, parties, wedding receptions or meetings,” she said.
Laurie touts “the home-cooked, hearty, country-style breakfasts” for those who want them. “You can stay in your suite in your pajamas and have breakfast delivered.”
When guests arrive they find a peaceful, unique setting.
“It’s quiet and people really feel relaxed and let the cares of the world melt away. It gives them something they’re not going to get anywhere else.”
Some opt to put their cell phones aside and not use them during their stay.
“We’ve had it where the mom will come over and everyone puts them in one basket. They tell the kids go play, have fun, play in the dirt or play with the chickens,” Jim said.
The couple also bonds with the animals in their care.
Jim has taught one of the pigs to sit for a treat, similar to a dog. Laurie can be seen nuzzling with the bunnies.
One of them, Turkey Lurkey, recently passed away. A group of baby chicks was recently added.
Peace and quiet
Guests come from Ohio’s major cities as well as from Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida and Georgia.
“We have people from all over; we even had some from China,” she said.
The couple considers this endeavor a calling, not just an occupation.
“We wanted a place for people away from the hustle and bustle, away from the craziness,” Laurie said.
Jim added, “The biggest thing they say when they come here is, ‘It’s so quiet.’”
“We let people know from the get-go, if you’re planning on having parties or loud events, this really isn’t the place to do that,” she said.
Groups are welcome.
“The Mid-Ohio folks come in. The racers will take the whole place. It’s kind of an odd one. They just want quiet and say, don’t let anybody bother us. They like the quiet and they love the heck out of the animals,” Jim said.
Heartland hosts birthday parties and small weddings.
“We had a 50th wedding anniversary. Oh, it was decorated beautifully,” Laurie said.
“We like to share what we have. That’s our big thing,” Jim said.
One teen-aged girl came with her mom. She spent three days in the “Rabbitat” reading a book and holding rabbits.
“You also get the older folks, the reminiscers. One lady could barely see, but she wanted to hold a chicken because when she was a child she had her own pet chicken,” Jim said.
“I picked up Blondie and gave it to her. She walked around holding the chicken for hours and she cried, bringing back memories.”
People who were raised on a farm and moved to the city miss the rural lifestyle.
“My satisfaction is when I see people smiling, laughing, taking a deep breath. You see that all the time around here. Then you know we provided something that is good for those folks.”
What guests say
Testimonials from guests praise both the venue and the warm reception.
One person wrote:
“My family and I stayed at Heartland Country Resort and our experience was wonderful. The food was amazing. The hospitality was wonderful. The accommodations were so comfortable it was like being at home.”
“We loved our little weekend away. Very peaceful and the owners treated us like we were lifelong friends instead of guests.”
Location: 3020 Township Road 190, Fredericktown; online: www.heartlandcountryresort.com; phone: 740-513-1990.
Conchel can be reached at [email protected]